Get your brush.
Summer holiday is over, 2013 is now go, and our office is back up and running. Conversations of how to “do church” are back on my lips, and dreams of what it could look like to have a vibrant, brilliant and passionate community of people who are changing the world by living in God’s story. The more I push and prod on what this community is meant to look like, the more I become inspired by what it’s meant to do. Reading entire letters from Paul to his various church communities over the summer break hasn’t helped.
In fact, it hasn’t just helped me. It has saved me.
For too long, most of my life actually, I have believed that church was a place with four walls. This thinking continually needs battering out of me.
Then, I clicked it was a group of people. But then that stopped cutting it for me, because really, groups of people exist in all kinds of shapes and forms. What made this one special?
Now, I see that it’s a gathering of artists with a canvas. And canvases shouldn’t stay blank; they need creating on. Let me explain my thought of it being a canvas:
“Church” is a gathering of people coming together, a group of people who embody the radical story of being a broken human being who is being made new by a loving God who’s in the restoration business, and as a community we celebrate that…
<insert tension of both of these things>
…and we look to what God is wanting to restore next. There’s a job to do. There’s things to make and get our hands dirty doing. Church as a canvas is about something happening and it takes everyone to help make it happen. It’s not just a group of people, it’s a group of creators who are creating with their God.
We paint with our prayers and with our songs.
We paint with our lunches and dinners.
We paint with our visits to hospitals for those who are sick, and cafes with ones in need of counsel.
We paint with our activity of stewarding the earth well, and we paint with our painting of a widow’s roof.
We paint by genuinely welcoming the stranger into our clique and allowing them to contribute.
We paint with our conversation over a good book of truth, and we paint with our delivering of a food parcel.
We paint with dropping off a cheque into a poor-student’s letter box, and we paint with giving our kids a hug after they have stuffed up again.
We paint with each other – we need each other to create this painting of goodness in the world, one person can not do it alone. The model of Jesus shows even Him inviting others to pick up the paint brush and slap on some paint.
So, what is it going to look like to “do church” at Shore Vineyards this year? Well, we aren’t going to labour in vain and we aren’t going to try and force things. This option exists and it’s important to remember how Jesus told Peter in Matthew 16:18 that He (Jesus) will build the church. But what we are going to do is call people to paint, to do their part of creating on this canvas, because there is plenty of labouring (read: creating) to do.
It’s going to look like everyone being present with their paint brush, because we can’t create this thing without anyone or it. It looks like you being present with yours. So, go get your brush.